Features

Beware the new axis of evangelicals and Islamists

Melanie Phillips says there is a dangerous new alliance between anti-Israel Christians and radical Muslim groups, often plotting in secret against their common enemy

4 March 2009

12:00 AM

4 March 2009

12:00 AM

Last weekend the Revd Stephen Sizer, vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water appeared at an anti-Israel meeting with an Islamist called Ismail Patel. Patel has not only accused Israel of ‘genocide’ and ‘war crimes’ but considers Disney to be a Jewish plot and supports Hamas, Iran and Syria.

Sizer is a virulent opponent of Christian Zionism and of Israel, which he has said he hopes will disappear just as did the apartheid regime in South Africa. He has also applauded Iranian President Ahmadinejad for having ‘looked forward to the day when Zionism ceased to exist’. Nevertheless, the appearance of an Anglican churchman on a pro-Islamist platform in Britain is a new and significant development. The Church of England recently banned its clergy from joining the BNP; should it not equally ban them from siding with the forces of Islamofascism?

Sizer’s participation, however, must be seen in the context of a disturbing realignment in the services of the forces of darkness against the free world: the emergence of an axis between a body of evangelicals, the hard left, the Islamists — and the far right.

Last July, a discreet meeting was held by a group of influential Anglican evangelicals to co-ordinate a new church approach towards Islam. The meeting was convened by Bryan Knell, head of the missionary organisation Global Connections, and others from a group calling itself Christian Responses to Islam in Britain. The 22 participants, who met at All Nations Christian College in Ware, Hertfordshire, were sworn to secrecy. The aim of the meeting was to develop the ‘grace approach to Islam’, which ‘tries to let Muslims interpret Islam rather than telling them what their religion teaches’. The meeting had in its sights those ‘aggressive’ Christians who were ‘increasing the level of fear’ in many others by talking about the threat posed by radical Islam.

The aim was thus to discredit and stifle those Christians who warn against the Islamisation of Britain and Islam’s threat to the church. Those who do so include the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, the Africa specialist Baroness Cox, the Islam expert Dr Patrick Sookhdeo and the Maranatha Ministry. A few weeks ago, Dr Sookhdeo became a spectacular victim of precisely such a discrediting process. Dr Sookhdeo, an Anglican canon, a Muslim convert and one of this country’s premier authorities on Islam, runs the Barnabas Fund, an aid agency helping persecuted Christians. He has written many books about Islam of which the latest is Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam.

In January the website of Fulcrum, an evangelical group, carried a review of Global Jihad by Ben White, a frequent contributor to the Guardian. His review rubbished Sookhdeo’s scholarship on the grounds that he had identified a theological problem with Islam when Islamic aggression was rooted instead in global grievances, particularly the existence and behaviour of Israel. To cap a farrago of ignorance and historical illiteracy, White tried to damn Sookhdeo by association, citing ‘hard-line conservatives and pro-Israel right-wingers’ who endorsed his work as proof that Sookhdeo was beyond the pale.

White then drew his review to the attention of a blogger, Islamist and Muslim convert called Indigo Jo. On his website, Indigo Jo anathematised Sookhdeo as the ‘Sookhdevil’. This attack was reproduced on various other Islamist websites and Sookhdeo has received a death threat as a result.

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So why should Christians betray another Christian to radical Islamists? Fulcrum have denied any connection to the Indigo Jo site along with any intention to discredit Sookhdeo. They say they merely wanted to ‘provide a forum’ to discuss the issues raised by his book. But why use Ben White, who clearly knows little about Islam, to review a book by an Islam scholar? A recurring thread of White’s writing is his hatred of Israel. He justifies Palestinian terrorism against Israel as legitimate self-defence to bring about the ‘decolonisation and liberation from occupation and Zionist apartheid’. He says he can ‘understand’ why some people are unpleasant towards Jews because of Israel’s ‘ideology of racial supremacy and its subsequent crimes committed against the Palestinians’ and also ‘the widespread bias and subservience to the Israeli cause in the Western media’.

Enter at this point the non-evangelical, secular Left in the shape of Andrew Brown, who joined White’s onslaught against Sookhdeo on the Guardian’s Comment Is Free website. Brown claimed of Sookhdeo’s supporters that they constructed ‘a closed mirror-world of hatred to stand against the Islamist one’.

Brown’s article, too, seemed to be driven by hostility to anyone who supported Israel. His objection to Sookhdeo was principally that ‘in practice the Sookhdeo view of Islam is always coupled with a stance in favour of the greater Israel’ — which enabled Brown to make a witty crack insinuating that the Jews were ‘people who are instructed by their religion to be violent, treacherous and imperialist’.

There has long been a notable crossover between the Left and the Islamists, who bury their considerable differences because of their all-consuming hatred of Israel and the West — and in which they find an echo in neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. But what’s new in this explosive mix is the presence of Christian evangelicals. What is extraordinary, moreover, is the targeting by Christian missionaries such as Brian Knell of Sookhdeo, a principal campaigner to end the death sentence for Muslim converts to Christianity. So why are such evangelicals trying to destroy people who are defending Christianity against Islamist aggression?

The answer lies in a profound split amongst evangelicals: between Christian Zionists who love Israel and want to defend the church against the predations of radical Islam, and those who want Israel to be destroyed and radical Islam appeased. Brian Knell, for example, blames Israel’s ‘institutionalised terrorism’ for the radicalisation of Muslims worldwide. He thus ignores Islamist statements about the innate perfidy of the secular West, the cosmic evil of the Jews throughout history and the need to impose doctrinal purity upon other Muslims in the face of Western modernity.

The warped obsession with Israel is fundamental to these evangelicals’ desire to accommodate radical Islamism. Another participant at the All Nations meeting was Colin Chapman, the father of the UK movement against Christian Zionism — and whose animosity is rooted in a theological prejudice against the Jews. Chapman’s hugely influential book, Whose Promised Land, resurrects the ancient Christian canard of ‘supercessionism’ — the belief that because the Jews denied the divinity of Christ, God transferred His favours to the Christians while the Jews were cast out as the party of the Devil. This doctrine lay behind centuries of Christian anti-Jewish hatred until the Holocaust drove it underground.

In his book, Chapman writes that violence has always been implicit in Zionism and that Jewish self-determination is somehow racist. He also subscribes to the canard of sinister Jewish power. He has written: ‘Six million Jews in the USA have an influence that is out of all proportion to their numbers in the total population of 281 million… It is widely recognised, for example, that no one could ever win the presidential race without the votes and the financial support of substantial sections of the Jewish community.’

It is a sobering fact that such a subscriber to anti-Jewish prejudice should
be so influential in the church. And such thinking has many followers, including Stephen Sizer. ‘The covenant between Jews and God,’ he has written, ‘was conditional on their respect for human rights. The reason they were expelled from the land was that they were more interested in money and power and treated the poor and aliens with contempt’. And he has denied validity to Judaism itself saying: ‘to suggest …that the Jewish people continue to have a special relationship with God, apart from faith in Jesus …is, in the words of [the leading Anglican evangelical] John Stott, “biblically anathema”.’

And now look at other groups with which Sizer is making common cause in his hatred of Israel and the Jews. He has given interviews to, endorsed or forwarded material from American white supremacists and Holocaust deniers. Last year, he sent an article printed in the Palestine Chronicle about the alleged influence of ‘Israel in Washington’ through ‘powerful overtly Jewish Washington organisations and, increasingly, through Christian Zionist organisations’ to an appreciative Martin Webster, the former leader of the neo-Nazi National Front.

Many will be deeply shocked that the Church of England harbours individuals with such attitudes. But the church hierarchy is unlikely to act against them. Extreme hostility towards Israel is the default position among bishops and archbishops; while the establishment line is to reach out towards Islam in an attempt to accommodate and appease it. With Christians around the world suffering forced conversion, ethnic cleansing and murder at Islamist hands, the church utters not a word of protest. Instead, inter-faith dialogue is the order of the day, with Canon Graham Kings — the theological secretary of Fulcrum, no less — a key player in Anglican inter-faith work. And now Israel’s war against Hamas has had a pivotal effect. There is now a widespread sense that Israel must finally be defeated once and for all — and then the Islamists will calm down.

It is horrifying that so many in the church should be preaching against the victims of Jew-hatred and Islamist violence and seeking to accommodate those who stand for the persecution of Christians, the destruction of western and Christian values and the genocide of the Jews. It is horrifying that the church is providing a platform for the dissemination of lies about Israel and ancient theological bigotry against the Jews. And it is horrifying that it contains people who are not just virulently hostile towards Israel but also towards anyone who supports it.

Given the common but no less odious view that British Jews who support Israel are guilty of ‘dual loyalty’, it would seem that the church is truly supping with the devil and setting the stage for a repeat of an ancient tragedy. 

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Show comments
  • Ray

    Romans Chapter 11 is worth noting in this respect, where the Apostle Paul counters those misguided Christians tempted to be anti-Semitic (as opposed to those who merely object to certain policies of the Israeli government). For the sake of brevity, I will only quote the key passages.

    “I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew…

    “Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!…

    “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins’.

    “As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”

    So there you have it. A sign of the end times will not only be the return of the Jews to Palestine (prophesied elsewhere in the Bible and already fulfilled), but also the eventual turning of the Israeli people to the Christian faith – as prophesied in these passages.

  • Diana

    I could tell you quite a few stories about how the same thing is happening in Australia especially in the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church. There they invited a notoriously anti Israeli British theologian to spread his poisonous bias (ie how to build bridges with Muslims by dumping on Jews) at the theological college which trains the students for ministry. (Won’t mention his name Melanie but we did have some correspondence about him last year and you mentioned him in “Londonistan” so you know who I mean).

    One of the large and historic churches in the city of Sydney has twice invited a purported “Iranian spy” (Aust govt wanted him deported but he took his case to the High Court and won it because he has Australian born children)to address its meetings on Islamic-Christian dialogue.

    There are frequent anti Israeli blogs on Anglican church websites and anyone who disagrees is generally frozen out. This is all done because the diocese wants to disassociate itself from “nutter American Christian Zionists” and win over a younger group of people with its fashionable social justice profile.

    I challenged a senior canon from a local cathedral about Anglican attitudes to Israel and got some waffle about dispproportionate responses in Gaza.

    Nothing you write, Melanie, surprises me at all.

  • Becky Collins, UK

    I’m a Christian, and I see the Jewish story as the beginning of my own. I couldn’t profess to be academic or political enough to comment on Israel beyond believing strongly that our shared Holy Book says the Holy Land is theirs YEARS before the Koran was ever invented.
    I am disgusted that CofE leaders could speak out against God’s chosen people – Jesus is Jewish, for Christ’s sake!

  • william kirk

    I must take issue that these pro palestinians are evangelical christians as they are not even christian!Christ said by their fruits ye will know them,they are on the flip side of the same coin.

  • Dutchie of Canberra

    I am absolutely aghast that any thinking Christian can take such a stand as explained by Melanie. It is one thing to be not pro-Israel but it is a totally different thing to be siding with the Islamists and terrorists against Israel. Israel may not be totally innocent, but there are many lies and misconceptions spread all over the place with the constant claim of Israel’s institutionalised terrorism and expansionism and it’s indiscriminate murder and mayhem of innocent lives. The figures do not support this and one only needs to look at the way Islam spread throughout history to see true “institutionalised terrorism” and terrorism. Israel has not commenced any war since it’s inception 60 years ago. All fighting has been in response to attacks from outside. The only land gained has been through these battles in order to safeguard it’s own people. And even then it has chosen to hand over territory to Arabs in peace negotiations. I haven’t seen any concessions made by any Arab party.
    I am a Christian, but from reading this article I must be one of those ‘aggressive’ Christians because I warn people of the islamisation of the Western world. I attended recent Dr Sookdheo’s meetings and I read Londonistan. I support Geert Wilders, and I agree with his premise that Israel is OUR front-line. If Israel falls, the islamists will then totally turn their focus to us in the West. Israel is really fighting the battle for the West and here we are, we abandon them in droves. Shame, shame, shame on us.
    I am ashamed of my fellow Christians who take a stand such as described in this article. I just hope it won’t be too late for them to be ashamed when their rights are severely limited by Sharia law in the UK or else where in the West.
    After Londonistan, another great book to read is “While Europe slept – how radical Islam is destroying the West from within”
    SO … WAKE UP !!!!!!

  • Mark Robinson

    This is a rather hysterical piece really. The CoE is by definition a broad church, so it’s hardly surprising that splinter organisations hold some rather unpleasant views,and are probably willing to get into bed with some rather unsavoury characters. But this doesn’t mean that the body of the church advocates, or tacitly supports, the views of extreme elements that have some spurious connection.

    The article is an attempt to connect those of us who feel that Israel’s recent actions in Gaza were morally indefensible because of the extreme and indiscriminate use of violence with Islamic extremeists and skinheads. I detest religious extremism and race-hate ideology, but that doesn’t mean I should excuse or ignore the killing of Palestinians just because some idiots want to wipe out the state of Israel completely. Unfortunately a standard response of journalists like MP is that they equate criticism of Israel’s political or military actions with ant-semitism – and it just won’t wash.

  • K Parker

    As an evangelical who loves Israel I am thankful that at last someone in the media has rumbled Mr Sizer. He certainly doesn’t represent me.

  • Will

    Seriously seriously upsetting. I am an Evangelical and deeply worried at the complete blank spot some of my fellow Christians have about Israel and the Jews.
    Thank you Melanie for highlighting this.
    PS My Christian friends and I have deep respect for the “people of the Book” the people into which our Messiah was born. They are special to us, at least.

  • Aslan

    If an MP or any other public figure said, did or wrote half the stuff Sizer does, they’d be in deep trouble (i.e Jenny Tongue & Rowan Laxton). It seems that the Anglican establishment tolerate what he has been doing. I, on the other hand, as an evangelical non-conformist am sickened and angered by his less than careful alliances, distortions of history and inflamatory language. He should be disciplined or sacked, just because he is a vicar doesn’t mean he is immune from the rules the rest of us have to abide by.

  • Elvira King

    I am a Christian Zionist and I grieve because of the depth of spiritual deception that is prevalent in the Church. This hatred for the Jews and Israel, and persecution of God’s true Church will not go unpanished. Our faithful Father warned us long ago “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil”. This refers not only to the way His chosen are treated, but also how the societies are governed.

  • Nick Gray

    Thank you, Melaqnie, for putting these issues in the public arena. Please be encouraged that there are many of us evangelical Christians, who support the Jewish people and the existence of the State of Israel and try to counter the work and words of Steven Sizer and his co-seccesionists.
    Maybe you would like to do an article sometime on the pro-Israel work and beliefs of many Christian groups in UK!

  • Bill Corr

    Those interested in this issue, and similar issues, will find much of interest on the brilliant and stimulating website with the dull and unenticing name of ‘Harry’s Place.’

    Sizer and his chums sound like escapees from a suppressed episode of Monty Python, don’t they? Or the Peter Simple ‘Way of the World’ column. All we need is for the Reverend Dr. Goth-Jones to offer his church’s Elizabethan communion chalice on ebay to fund Hamas’ rocket-warhead drive.

  • Rex Caddick

    It isn’t just the evangelicals who are making commong cause with extremists and anti-zionists. It is a unquestionable tenet of Political Correctness. which accepts that only the `people with the power/ can be racist, evil or even wrong.

    This doctrine of the supreme minority is not only anti-democratic, but also requires that the evidence or the truth of any happening can never be absolute – but has to be interpreted in favour of whatever minority is concerned. History and the facts can be ignored or,better still, reinterpreted until even the survival of a legitimate state defending itself against terrorism must be deplored.

    Common sense is dead,and unreason has given way to brute force and lies. May our children recover from this madness and forgive us for letting it happen.

  • Len G

    How come its takes a Jew to speak any sense into the Christian world. Thank you Melanie for your excellent article – I am sorry we Christians give you such a hard time!!

  • Andrew Brown

    This is poisonous nonsense. I can only speak for myself, but anyone who reads my blog piece will see that the phrase MP quotes was not applied to Jews of any sort: it was a description of what Sookhdeo believes is the character of his opponents.

    Nor, for that matter, did I know (or care) about Ben White’s views on Gaza when I started the piece. I was interested solely in the fork-tongued nature of the two responses to him, one for public consumption which attacked his arguments, and the other, for true believers, which attacked his character.

    Just for the record, I don’t have any interesting, original, or even strongly held views about Israel/Palestine. I think it is a tragedy and am thankful not to be forced to take sides because any imaginable outcome (not “solution”, to use Conor Cruise O’Brien’s distinction) will involve terrible suffering and injustice.

  • MV

    Ms Phillips’ understanding of Christian doctrine and the relation of various covenants is sadly lacking. If readers scroll down to the second half of the second section of this lengthy article they’ll see what I mean:
    http://www.israelshamir.net/Contributors/Moral_Squeamishness.htm

  • Diana

    If Jesus of Nazareth was not Torah observant to perfection, He could not have qualified as the “The Lamb of God without blemish”…and it would follow that all christians are in fact still dead in their sins..mercifully, the record of the Gospels is clear that though at times He disregarded customs and traditions, NEVER did Yeshua mi-Natzeret fail to meet the requirements of G-d’s instructions. As an itinerant teacher of the Hebrew Scriptures,He lived and taught a perfect interpetation of Torah.Some evangelicals would do well to remember that the New Testament is another name for the Renewed Covenant(made possible through Messiah) between G-d and His ancient Covenant People! Grafted-in Gentiles have sharp elbows and our reprehensibly rude behaviour towards the Jewish followers of the Way,from the first century onwards,has all but obliterated the true identity of our Hebrew Lord. How many of us will find that we are asked to take a lowlier place at the Wedding Banquet? Should the Church persist in despising the ‘cultivated olive,’ embarrassment may prove to be the least of our worries on that Day.
    For those seeking clarity on the issue of the Jewishness of Jesus, may I commend most highly the scholarly DVD series “Behold the Man”, By Dr.Dwight Pryor, founder of the Centre for Judaic-Christian Studies.(available from CFI UK)

  • Roy

    It is not the first time the Church of England has shown contempt for its own flock and spread forth into distant affairs to suit the whims of its hierarchy. In the 1960’s I vowed never to give another penny to the church when it became known it was contributing cash towards the then subversives and terror organizations operating in S. Rhodesia and elsewhere in Africa. It was the in-thing to be seen to support the Marxist takeover advancing through the continent (like the advance of Islam today with the world in its sights). It is ironic to think of the condition of Zimbabwe today and the ones who where so blind and bent in their belief contributed to it. Is this a foretaste of the world to come?

  • monica

    I’m an atheist, and the information reported by this article leaves me bereft of words, and despairing. And, I’m afraid, the well-meaning responses here of religious people condemning this (literally) unholy alliance saddens me too. How can any modern thinking person base their moral and ethical judgements on the writings of nomads and warlords from between 1 – 3,000 years ago?

  • Bill Corr

    This is all MOST illuminating! Probably most ‘Spectator’ readers were unaware just how many people with several screws loose there are roaming free in normal society.

    ‘Lamb of God without Blemish’ indeed! Sounds like Sunday lunch at the Park Lane Hilton! Would one blemish this sacred lamb by adding mint sauce?

    Bring on the talking serpent! Where does Jonah’s whale fit into the story?

  • Simonline

    Just a ‘minor’ correction of ‘Roy’s’ post of March 5th 2009 (9.59am).

    The Israeli people (especially the Jewish Israeli people) are not coming to the Gentile Christian faith at all but instead are returning to their own authentic Jewish faith (i.e. Biblical Judaism (as distinct from Rabinical Judaism) that is rooted in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth as the true Jewish Messiah, the human incarnation of the Holy One of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). We Gentile Christians are simply invited guests, invited to participate in the commonwealth of Israel (Rom.9-11; Eph.2:11-22).

  • Georgina Ryan

    An excellent article by Melanie, which sets out succintly the true agenda of these so-called Christians. As a Christian Zionist myself and a supporter of the Barnabas Fund, what Melanie has written does not surprise me – I read and hear a lot about these characters she has mentioned in her article. Thanks again Melanie for your bravery in bringing out the truth of what is really going on. All is not lost though – I am hearing of many Christians both here and right around the world who are seeing the truths set out in the Bible about God’s continuing great love for Israel and the Jewish people, and Christians who are very keen to explore the Hebrew roots of our faith. SHALOM!

  • Colin

    The problem with Sizer and those who hold his views is that either (a) they are ignorant of what their Bibles say or (b) they choose not to believe what is written there.

    The Jews are not perfect (who is?) but, whether the world likes it or not, they were the race of people chosen by God to reveal Himself to mankind. Jesus was and is a Jew.

    And the Bible quite clearly states(in terms a primary school child can understand) that God is going to work very powerfully through them.

    Accordingly those within the Christian church have the choice of either aligning themselves with God’s purposes or find themselves fighting against Him.

  • David Lindsay

    Would Melanie Phillips, whose article I honestly believe that the Spectator has only published for a laugh, care to explain how “Christian values” are protected by banning the proclamation of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah with everything that that entails, described by Phillips as “the ancient Christian canard of supercessionism” and “ancient theological bigotry”?

    And would she care to explain why Christians should care more for a viciously anti-Christian country than for one in which the Constitution requires that the President be a Christian (Lebanon)? Or one in which there are Christian-majority provinces, and Christian festivals as public holidays (Syria)? Or one in which there are three reserved parliamentary seats for a Christians (Iran, where there is also a reserved seat for a Jew)?

    Does the President of Israel have to be a Christian (or is one of Israel’s official languages a European language, as one of allegedly less Western Lebanon’s is)? Are there Christian-majority provinces, or Christian festivals as public holidays, in Israel? Are there reserved parliamentary seats for Christians in Israel, which certainly contains all-Christian villages?

    President Obama clearly suffers from none of Phillips’s delusions. Even Hillary Clinton has been ordered to snap out of them, or at least to go through the motions of having done so.

    So I say again that the Spectator, always paleocon at heart in spite of recent deviations, is just having a laugh. A laugh at someone still living in the mercifully vanished world of George W Bush.

  • David Haslam

    Mis Phillips has misrepresented Stephen Sizer completely. Anyone taking even a brief look at his website would not come to the conclusions she does. There is no truth in the allegations that Sizer and other evangelicals are plotting with Islamists.

    http://www.stephensizer.com/

    To begin her description of Sizer with emotive adjectives such as virulent is an unjustifiable ad hominem attack on his position.

    He wrote two days ago, “I tried to give a Christian perspective and to urge participants to find peaceful, non-violent and constructive ways to express their anger and frustration at the appalling suffering in Gaza during the recent attacks. We must not to seek revenge or retaliation as this will only play into the hands of extremists on both sides. Violence breeds violence.”

  • grace

    iam a christian from africa and i love Israel to bits but one thing we should realise is there has to be afalling away as its written in the bible and the same bible says they deny the truth so God sends them illusion…they believes lies.remember this all true believing X-tians that HE WATCHES OVER ISRAEL NEITHER SLEEPS OR SLUMBERS.when make believing Xtians team up with religions that deny Jesus as God worry less coz this has to happen as the man of sin and lawlessness will bring all under one banner and all sahll believe him.4get some of these bishops and reverands,they are blind though they dont know.they need the holyspirit to open their eyes.Pray 4 ISRAEL

  • Scott Mebeat

    The reason we keep hearing about Apartheid in this context is that the aging do-gooders who formed the anti-apartheid movement still have a need for a cause to feel good about in spite of any harm they may do, now that the Apartheid regime has gone. Their difficulty is to avoid breaking any politically correct rules. Thus they cannot take on a black African such as Mugabe, for example, regardless of how good a cause that would be, because it would be racist. Also, Mugabe is the direct result of the activists’ actions against Rhodesia, and they can’t admit that their actions made things worse for ordinary Africans, can they?

    In addition, these activists have shown that they have no stomach for an opponent that in their perceptions is too big to bully. These are the, ‘Chicken, of human shield,’ brigade. Thus they picked on Rhodesia and South Africa, rather than the far worse Soviet Union. In fact many were in bed with the USSR, indicating contemptible double standards.

    Israel fits the bill, because it is white enough and appears small enough to bully. The liaison with Islam is the usual, ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ thing.

    This wasn’t a spontaneous occurrence. Rather an already existing organisation that had lost its reason to exist has found a new carcass to feed on.

    They don’t have any clout and are as relevant as the Archbishop of Canterbury. The best thing to do is ignore them. If they do not receive a pay-back then they will go away and find something else to do.

  • Stephen Sizer

    Melanie,

    Where on earth did you dream up this nonsense?

    I have never said that I wish Israel, “will disappear just as did the apartheid regime in South Africa.” I have never believed this and categorically reject any position that threatens the integrity of Israel as a sovereign nation.

    On the contrary I have repeatedly stated in writing that I wish to see a safe and secure Israel with internationally recognised borders, alongside a sovereign independent Palestine.

    To clarify my position and to anticipate such criticisms, in my book Zion’s Christian Soldiers?, I wrote the following:

    “It is true that at various times in the past, churches and church leaders have tolerated or incited anti-Semitism and even attacks on Jewish people. Racism is a sin and without excuse. Anti-Semitism must be repudiated unequivocally. However, we must not confuse apples and oranges. Anti-Zionism is not the same thing as anti-Semitism despite attempts to broaden the definition. Criticising a political system as racist is not necessarily racist. Judaism is a religious system. Israel is a sovereign nation. Zionism is a political system. These three are not synonymous. I respect Judaism, repudiate anti-Semitism, encourage interfaith dialogue and defend Israel’s right to exist within borders recognised by the international community and agreed with her neighbours. But like many Jews, I disagree with a political system which gives preference to expatriate Jews born elsewhere in the world, while denying the same rights to the Arab Palestinians born in the country itself.”

    Others such as former US President Jimmy Carter have made comparisons between Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories and South Africa under apartheid.

    I do wish to see the present illegal occupation of Gaza, the Golan and the West Bank ‘disappear’, but only as a result of the peaceful implementation of all relevant UN Resolutions, the Roadmap to Peace previously agreed by the US, EU, Russia and UN in April 2003, and Annapolis Agreement of November 2007 and Quartet Statement of December 2008.

    I have been a Christian minister for just short of 30 years and I have yet to meet a priest, let a lone a Bishop or Archbishop who displays, to use your own words, “extreme hostility towards Israel” nor “accommodate and appease” Islam. Forgive me but when did you last come to a service in the Church of England?

  • Keith Horsfall

    I think Melanie puts her finger on perhaps the greatest failure of the General Synod of the Church of England. For all the talk that goes on at Synod, there is silence when it comes to the plight of our fellow Christians. They have to live as second class citizens in many countries because of the oppressive regimes under which they live. The work Patrick Sookhdeo does should have been taken on years ago by the whole Anglican Communion. I am ashamed of my church on this point. Keith Horsfall (Rev)

  • Thomas Hawksley

    It seems that Melanie Philips is again pretending to know about a subject when in fact it’s clear she is a sampler who fits her story to paradigm. Here she is way out of her depth, and if she had either read any of Stephen Sizer’s books or attended one of his lectures she would not have so cheaply damned a man who in fact is standing up for Christian Orthodoxy. Sizer’s position is supported by the Revd. John Stott, perhaps the most widely respected Bible teacher and church leader of our time. His view, like Sizer’s, is balanced. Her view is one sided, and niether anchored in Biblical Christianity or scholarship. It is tawdry sensationalist journalism.

    She had the same problem when it came to Iran and the Mojahadeen. She went to one of their suppers and wrote they were the best hope for Iran. Anyone can go and buy Masood, a terrifying insiders account of this fascist movement. She did not bother.

    For such a gifted communicator, it’s a pity she doesn’t research her articles more thoroughly.

  • Terry

    It may have been said already, but Christians who take the bible seriously regard the Jewish people as the apple of God’s eye and will fundamentally be favourably disposed towards them. The nation of Israel in the Middle East is the propert homeland of the Jewish people.

  • David

    Melanie, I congratulate you on an excellent article. You have fully identified the anti-Israel and anti-Christian culture that has arisen in our nation today.

    It grieves me, that so much of what calls itself the Church today is so completely out of step with Christian doctrine. There is a great evil being done in our nation in the cause of political correctness. It is now so bad, that finding a Bible-based church in large parts of this country has become like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. The church organisation has largely been taken over by the purveyors of hatred towards Israel, appeasers of Islam, ecumenists, and New Age worshippers of the planet.

    Things are now so bad that it is possible to be arrested for a hate crime for speaking out against the evils that seek to silence the voice of righteousness.

    Every day that the sun shines, the moon rises, the stars twinkle, the wind blows, the waves roar, and the fixed order of the creation remains, it is a guarantee that the Lord God Almighty is watching over Israel:
    Jer 31:35-37
    Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the LORD, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.” Thus says the LORD, “If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declares the LORD.

  • Ed

    It saddens me to read Melanie’s article, though perhaps if I had read Londonistan it would not surprise me. I know personally some of the people who made up that ‘secretive group’ and I very much doubt whether they have an anit-Israel agenda.

    What they do have is a desire to build bridges with moderate Muslims. That is not to say they are unaware of the teaching of Islam, rather they seek to emphasie shared values.
    For the last ten years I have been working with a charity which publishes books (in Arabic) to help Muslims understand Christ. They asked us to do this and are proud to endorse our efforts, even helping us do a new translation of the New Testament that they can understand.

    Our inspiration is St Francis of Assisi, who went on the Crusades to preach Christ to the crusaders. He also went with some of his brothers to the Muslims’ camp, at the risk of their lives, to share the true message of reconcilitation which is the cross of Christ. It is reported by Muslim historians that some Muslims believed the message Francis brought.

    So, as Christians we have a choice, either to go along with the general fear of Islam as portrayed in the media, or to reach out to our Muslim fellow citizens. We should not be naive about what Islam teaches, but we must be careful not to spread fear, which only serves to polarize. We wage war or we wage peace. I know what most Muslims would like us to do.

  • R Cole

    Personally I was wondering what was driving all of the CoE support for Islam –

    A CoE member from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s area – said they are much more likely to see a Jehovah’s Witness or even an American Mormon (Church of Latter Day St.) – than anyone from the CoE – knocking on their door – yet the A.Bishop is reaching across the isle and out the door and over to Islam – to see that Islamic law becomes a part of British law.

    It does seem a little to me – like something Prince Charles might be behind – why would the Archbishop display so much confidence – with so little support on the ground?

    ::

    Totally agree with Melanie – in Iran – just last September ’08 they voted to put to death anyone who leaves Islam and becomes a Christian – there maybe upwards of a million of these secret Christians –

    There has to be more than a good dose of absent mindedness – when it comes to the plight of Christians living under Islamic law throughout the world – this is something that the CoE may come to regret –

    At least the Catholic Church is taking a stand – saying that there is no reciprocity between the Western/Christian world and the Islamic world – that the Christians are doing most everything – [see no churches and bibles in Saudi Arabia – mosques in Rome]

    ::

    What is so amazing is that [some] Muslims are openly – promoting the idea of Christianity one day falling underneath a wider Islamic umbrella – but while the Muslims plot – the CoE assumes that it can maintain control [of their Muslims] – by helping them – establish Islamic law in this country – ignoring Pakistan, Egypt and Malaysia – all places where Islamic law and civilian law have come into conflict and Islamic law continues to take a greater and great share – when all the examples show – that this way is a losing game – as – instead [poor old] Islam is seeking to control both the CoE and British law!!

  • Alan

    Will Stephen Sizer please post another comment explaining why he felt moved to mail an article by an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist to the former leader of the National Front?

  • Charlotte

    Ed you posted: “I know what most Muslims would like us to do.”
    How do you know? Are you sure you are not projecting your own Christian mindset onto people who have a different religiously driven mindset from your own.

  • Mordechai

    I think Stephen Sizer also needs to answer the points made at the /seismicshock.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/stephen-sizer-responds-to-melanie-phillips/”>Stephen Sizer responds to Melanie Phillips

    How do Rev Sizer’s friends explain Sizer’s escapades at the Voice of Palestine conference?

  • Mordechai
  • MV

    Mordechai
    I looked up the link and could only find a series of “guilt by association” points. This kind of smear tactic goes back to the pharisees and constitutes no kind of argument whatsoever. Sizer must be judged on what he says and writes. You have failed to find anything that contradicts what he has stated. Asking that the Palestinians in, for example, the occupied territories, be “freed” is, according to you, somehow equivalent to asking that Israel cease to exist (or some such). It would seem that the problems with accuracy and presumption are yours and not Sizer’s. As to the theological absurdities abounding in Phillips’s article – see the link I gave earlier. What she calls “supercessionism” is simply Christianity as taught by Christ and his apostles and the Church Fathers and the Popes etc. etc.

  • MCB

    MV,
    Israel Shamir is a Holocaust Denier and a neo-Nazi. Why have you linked to him?

  • TW

    I am an aetheist. I will prefer the survival of Israel against them being over run by Islam any day. This is simply a pragmatic point. Jews don’t force their religion on others (or kill you if you change your mind), they don’t regard women as half the worth of men. Jews don’t hang gay men. They don’t use non-combatants as cover for their political purposes. They don’t move to another country and, impose their belief system whilst taking the benefits.

    I was always soft toward the CoE because I was brought up in it and regarded it as a fluffy and warm, English version of Christianity, not a militant, “any attack on any religion is to be repulsted however wicked that belief system (unless its Judaism)” cult. I can’t abide race hatred and don’t believe that any religion should have the right to impose their “values”. We have the ABoC advocating sharia in England currently and this will not do. This country has been a haven of free speech for centuries and it is an evil thing to use this gift to support an opressive cult to work for the destruction of a country. Not least because we will be next. I have had enough of the useful idiots who infest our Church. And yes, I said “our Church” because despite my lack of belief in any god, Christianity is the religion of England.

    Israel has taken beating after beating and kept their nerve; they are the last stand of sanity against an arrogant “believe as we believe or die” religion and the opressive mind-set that it brings with it.

    Thank you Melanie. I had been nervous about what the Church was up to for a while and the anti-semitic drive needs to be exposed.

  • MV

    MCB
    I have linked to an article (not “him”) that is reproduced at his site but was written for another magazine. I linked to the article because it is the content of the article that I am interested in and it is the article that correctly takes Phillips to task on supercessionism.
    You are free to distract from the topic by bringing in extraneous circumstances and by making allegations against persons not relevant to the article (I don’t know whether what you say is true – you certainly provide no evidence for your possibly libellous – but it is irrelevant to the article – which, I fear, is precisely why you bring it up). Do find time to read the article. You might learn something.

  • Steve Brook

    At what point does honest examination of Israeli policies become an “anti-Israel attitude”?

  • Topper

    For a lighter-hearted view of the rationale which, I suspect, underlies the approach which Bryan Knell and other evangelicals are trying to advance, I strongly recommend reading an article published recently in the International Journal of Frontier Missions (associated with the US Center for World Mission), which can be found at the following web address:

    http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/25_4_PDFs/25_4_Winship.pdf

  • Stephen Sizer

    My initial response is to state that I have never said that I wish Israel, in her words, “to be destroyed” or to “disappear just as did the apartheid regime in South Africa.” I have never believed this and categorically reject any position that threatens the integrity of Israel as a sovereign nation.

    On the contrary I have repeatedly stated in writing (for example here, here and here) that I wish to see a safe and secure Israel with internationally recognised borders, alongside a sovereign, viable, independent Palestine.

    I have, however, spoken out against Holocaust denial as well as religious extremism. I have also highlighted British involvement in saving Jewish people from the Nazi Holocaust. I have specifically challenged Christians who see nothing incompatible with membership of the BNP.

    Far from seeking to “appease radical Islam”, I have criticised Islamist attacks against Christians in Iraq here and here, as well as in Afghanistan. I have challenged Iran’s human right’s record here and here and commended an important book about the Church in Iran here.

    I have never knowingly, to use her words, “given interviews to, endorsed or forwarded material from American white supremists and Holocaust deniers”. My publisher in the USA, InterVarsity Press, occasionally arrange TV and radio interviews for me with Christian stations to promote my books. I trust their judgement.

    On her use of the term “islamofacism”, I subscribe to the view of a leading authority on Fascism, Walter Laqueur, who concluded that “Islamic fascism, Islamophobia and antisemitism, each in its way, are imprecise terms we could well do without but it is doubtful whether they can be removed from our political lexicon.”

    I keep an extensive and growing mailing list and am no more responsible that Melanie Philips is for how others make use of material I write, or forward, which is invariably from mainstream newspapers and journals. Unlike those who choose to use anonymous blogs and websites to express their opinions, I have made my own views plain and my external ministry public.

    “we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2).

    To clarify my position and to anticipate such criticisms, in my book Zion’s Christian Soldiers?, I wrote the following:

    “It is true that at various times in the past, churches and church leaders have tolerated or incited anti-Semitism and even attacks on Jewish people. Racism is a sin and without excuse. Anti-Semitism must be repudiated unequivocally. However, we must not confuse apples and oranges. Anti-Zionism is not the same thing as anti-Semitism despite attempts to broaden the definition. Criticising a political system as racist is not necessarily racist. Judaism is a religious system. Israel is a sovereign nation. Zionism is a political system. These three are not synonymous. I respect Judaism, repudiate anti-Semitism, encourage interfaith dialogue and defend Israel’s right to exist within borders recognised by the international community and agreed with her neighbours. But like many Jews, I disagree with a political system which gives preference to expatriate Jews born elsewhere in the world, while denying the same rights to the Arab Palestinians born in the country itself.”

    I endorse the position taken by the Heads of Churches in Israel regarding the need for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

    Others such as former US President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have made comparisons between Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories and South Africa under apartheid.

    I do wish to see the present illegal occupation of Gaza, the Golan and the West Bank “disappear”, but only as a result of the peaceful implementation of all relevant UN Resolutions, the Roadmap to Peace previously agreed by the US, EU, Russia and UN in April 2003, and Annapolis Agreement of November 2007 and Quartet Statement of December 2008.

    I have a high regard for Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali and the courageous stand he has taken on inter-faith as well as ecclesiastical issues. Indeed I helped organise and promote his recent visit to Guildford Diocese.

    I also deeply regret hearing that Patrick Sookhdeo has received a death threat as a result of writing his recent book, Global Jihad. Unfortunately, it is increasingly common. I have too. Veiled threats even feature on pro-Zionist Christian websites. Thankfully, the police are taking these seriously and have arranged a measure of additional protection for my family also.

    What saddened me most, however, about Melanie Phillips’ article, were her concluding remarks criticising the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England. This is what she wrote:

    “Many will be deeply shocked that the Church of England harbours individuals with such attitudes. But the church hierarchy is unlikely to act against them. Extreme hostility towards Israel is the default position among bishops and archbishops; while the establishment line is to reach out towards Islam in an attempt to accommodate and appease it. With Christians around the world suffering forced conversion, ethnic cleansing and murder at Islamist hands, the church utters not a word of protest. Instead, inter-faith dialogue is the order of the day…”

    I have been a Christian minister for just short of 30 years but have yet to meet a priest, let alone a Bishop or Archbishop who displays, “extreme hostility towards Israel” or who wishes to “accommodate and appease” Islam. Just the reverse. While there is clearly a spectrum of opinion on the best way to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict within the House of Bishops, and the most appropriate way to present the good news of Jesus Christ in a multi-faith context, they are nevertheless united in opposing racism and religious intolerance whether directed toward Jewish people or Muslims.

    My question to Melanie is this, “Forgive me for asking, but when did you last come to a Sunday service in the Church of England?”

  • Rod Boggia

    Stephen Sizer has clearly not read or understood Genesis 12 v 3: “I will bless those who bless you (Israel) and I will curse him who curses you.” I would not like to be in Stephen Sizer’s shoes – living under the curse of God.

  • andy gill

    An excellent piece of journalism Mel, and well done for outing Sizer. He sounds a nasty piece of work.

  • J B Davis

    British writers apparently don’t understand American religious denominations. “Anglican evangelicals” don’t equate with “Evangelicals”.

  • Mordechai

    I can understand that friends and allies of Rev Stephen Sizer would be appalled to learn of his connections with Holocaust deniers and Islamist fundamentalists, particularly as he has posted on his blog about his repudiation of the BNP and the need to combat antisemitism.

    However, the same such people must ask themselves some questions:

    1. Why is Stephen Sizer’s book on Christian Zionism the first book written by a Christian to be translated into Persian by the Iranian government?

    2. If Stephen Sizer is opposed to apocalyptic theology, then why did he accept an invitation from Iranian mullahs who also believe that apocalypse and war in the Middle East will precede the return of Jesus and the ushering in of a new world?

    3. What steps has Stephen Sizer taken to stop his material being used by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers?

    4. Why has he been named in official British documents as having encouraged antisemitism on British campuses?

    5. Why do people on neo-Nazi websites boast of having attended Rev Sizer’s church?

    6. Why does Rev Sizer share platforms with Islamists who preach the destruction of Israel, the evil of Jewry, and the moral justification for suicide bombings?

    7. Why does Rev Sizer appear to deny the evidence which has been available for him to see on the Seismic Shock blog for many months now, and instead selectively choose to mention all those times he has blogged against antisemitism whilst ignoring the evidence that he has been in email contact with various antisemites?

  • Mordechai

    “I have never knowingly, to use her words, “given interviews to, endorsed or forwarded material from American white supremists and Holocaust deniers”.

    Really?http://seismicshock.wordpress.com/2009/03/08/yes-stephen-sizer-didforwards-emails-written-by-9-11-conspiracy-theorists-and-holocaust-deniers/

  • BrianG

    Sizer is an unpleasant piece of work.

    The podcast of the ‘Unbelievable’ radio programme from 6 December – where Sizer debates with Geoffrey Smith of Christian Friends of Israel – is here:

    http://ondemand.premier.org.uk/unbelievable/AudioFeed.aspx

    At 21:20 minutes into the programme, Sizer says “Zionism is a form of racism”

    At 47:31 Sizer says “Israel has never declared what its borders are, so how can it be recognised?”

    At 1:14:30 Sizer says “My concern is with so-called Christian Zionist organisations that … equate the Gospel with helping Jews .. without telling them about the Cross … my concern is with those so-called Christian organisations that do not engage in Evangelism, that do not share Jesus with Jewish people: that’s antisemitism”

    So according to Sizer, it’s antisemitic NOT to try to convert Jews to Christianity …

    Rowan Williams, how can this be tolerated in the C of E?

  • Richard Ames

    Fantastic journalism, Melanie Phillips. Thank you.

  • beloved

    Melanie’s not talking about Evangelicals in the US. The title for the article will probably confuse more than a few in the US where support for Israel characterizes Evangelicals, and where ‘support for Israel’ is an understatement. Read the entire article!

  • Jo

    Total Rubbish! Get your facts right. Open your eyes and read about Sizer’s writings correctly.

  • O-Dog

    Once again Mel tars critics of Israel with the brush of anti-semetism.

    Until she can clear up her confusion between critisism of the actions of the State of Israel and hatred of Jews she will never be able to make any meaningful contribution to the Isr/Pal issue.

    Maybe she should visit the occupied territories. It might chance her perspective on those who believe that the actions of Israel towards the people it occupies deserve loud condemnation.

  • Original Tony

    Melanie, it’s quite simple…some “christians” are only Christians in name and detest Israel as much as the unsaved; they are filled with darkness. They are not born again of the Spirit of God. I call them humanists…they preach humanism (have you noticed everything ending in “ism” is a failure and basically anti-God).

    True, Spirit-filled Christians who are fully aware of who God is and have a reverent fear of Him, know that Israel is God’s chosen people and that we are COMMANDED to love and protect her.

    Don’t be fooled by the word Christian; some are and some are not!

  • Paul

    It is with sadness that I read MP’s article – and even if not all the facts are exactly correct I have no doubt that much of the criticism of Stephen Sizer is justified, respected bible scholars have challenged the views expressed in his book Zion’s Christian Soldiers. There are many Christians who question John Stott’s views too.

    As MP concludes “the church is…setting the stage for the repeat of an ancient tragedy” – do we learn from history – I doubt it. As important as Martin Luther is in church history, it was his misguided views about the Jewish people, at the end of his life that provided a basis for those who wanted to promote the “final solution” in 1938 and in the years afterwards.

    If we open our eyes we can see anti-semitism rising, the only place that the Jewish people will be safe is in Israel. That is why I and many other bible believing Christians are praying about and helping Jews to emigrate from around the world to Israel.

  • MV

    Mordechai

    I do not know Rev. Sizer nor do I share his evangelical religion. However, I have read some of his writings. A man should be judged by what he says and writes. He has clearly written and stated his attitude to anti-Semitism – Islamic or otherwise. The list you make is another example of “guilt by association” of the type that would have condemned Christ Himself. All anyone can do is to speak the truth as best one can – and do so to any audience where one thinks one might be able to make a difference. Sizer, presumably, oprates according to the ditum of Arthur Koestler: “You can’t help being right for the wrong reasons…This fear of finding oneself in bad company is not an expression of political purity; it is an expression of a lack of self-confidence”.

    Guilt by Association is the tactic of the pharisee. To judge a man by who has heard his words or who has received an email from him is absurd (one of your other points similarly makes no claim whatsoever on the content of what Sizer has said/written). The CONTENT of what he says/writes is what matters. If, as I believe we have reason to believe, he speaks at least partly in order to bring peoplke to Christ, which he believes is the way to salvation, then surely his motives are good. Unless we have very strong reason to reject this conclusion we shouldn’t – and we certainly shouldn’t fling mud. As to his theology re. “supercessionism” -what Sizer has written is no different in any way (as far as I can tell) from what Christ Himself said (and all apostles, Church counciles etc. etc. etc. – to those who quote Genesis – you must deal with what the term “Israel” now means). Let’s argue about what Sizer has SAID – NOT who he has said it to.

  • Sami Joseph

    I see that “post a comment” is reserved almost exclusively for the enemies of the truth.

  • Chris Ames

    Stephen Sizer asks Melanie: “Forgive me but when did you last come to a service in the Church of England?”

    I would like to know why that is relevant. Melanie writes “Extreme hostility towards Israel is the default position among bishops and archbishops; while the establishment line is to reach out towards Islam in an attempt to accommodate and appease it.”

    Does Sizer think that the only place clerics express their opinions is in Church? And even if he does think that, does he think that their words in Church are never reported?

    The argument ‘You’ve never been there so how do you know’ is the notorious last resort of those who have no case. It is particularly inappropriate here.

    • Pauline Featonby – Warren

      God has NOT finished with Israel! If He could give away His blessing (to Abraham& his seed for ever) then what hope for me? Could He give away His promise to never leave me or forsake me”? Pauline FW

      • cornwallsteve

        yes – if you rebel against him and deny Christ.

  • Diana

    What a hypocrite this Sizer guy must be and a dissembler. How can he say he’s not anti Semitic – he just wants all the Palestinians to be given the right of return. I’m sure he’s smart enough to realize that will be the end of Israel as a homeland for the Jews. Would he like to live in an England where Christianity was the minority religion? I bet not. The Jews are entitled to a homeland where they can be in the majority. the muslims have plenty of other countries with muslim majoritiew where they can happily live. The Jews have just one and deserve to keep it.

    You’re perfectly right Melanie. I’m afraid it’s rapidly becoming scratch an Anglican and find an anti semite and this has happened in the last 10 years at the most especially in Sydney diocese where I live. In the old days the Anglicans used to be pro Israel. What can you do about it? Apparently judging by what has happened at the tennis in Sweden Jews have lost the Swedes too who used to be some of their main supporters but that’s another story.

    PS I’m the Diana from Australia – there must be two of us.

  • Sababa

    What Stephen Sizer means is that he “categorically reject[s] any position that threatens the integrity of Israel as a sovereign nation” when he is speaking and writing for Western audiences. When he was in Iran, he advocated the so-called Palestinian right of return as a means of destroying a Jewish majority state:

    http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/071023/2007102301.html

    “Asked to comment on the United Nations requirement to repatriate the Palestinian refugees to their homeland, [Stephen Sizer] said that repatriation of Palestinians to their own territory will be effective in retaking their own country, because, when the Palestinian refugees come to their home, they will form majority of the population and would form a multi-ethnic state including Jews, Muslims and Christians.”

    Rev Sizer’s answers to the questions Mordechai raises will be interesting.

  • Mordechai

    Look at this email Stephen Sizer forwarded:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PalestinianOrthodoxy/message/8228

    “The state department needn’t lecture evangelical Christians against possibly assisting Israel’s enemies. At least a century ago, evangelical leaders anticipated the state department’s warning. Today, evangelicals reflexively honor the code that, no matter how true an unflattering fact or opinion about Jews may be, it will not be repeated. As a result of a century of self-censorship, tens of millions of evangelicals live in a virtual iron curtain of exclusion of truth about Jews, Judaism and Israel. Taught to see, hear, and speak no evil of Israel, they subsist on a religious and political diet of Zionist-approved pablum. The magnitude of truth that has never been allowed to reach them is encyclopedic.”

  • MV

    1. Why is Stephen Sizer’s book on Christian Zionism the first book written by a Christian to be translated into Persian by the Iranian government?

    No idea. But what is the objection? That some people with unpleasant views might be interested in reading Sizer? Pretty much anyone who writes a book (esp. on a contentious issue) is guilty of the supposed “crime” here. Must tell the authors of the Bible, anything by Israel Yuval, Salo Baron etc. etc.

    2. If Stephen Sizer is opposed to apocalyptic theology, then why did he accept an invitation from Iranian mullahs who also believe that apocalypse and war in the Middle East will precede the return of Jesus and the ushering in of a new world?

    Maybe because he wants to get his message out there and does not insist that those who invite already agree with his views. I’m sure he’d speak to a John Hageee type audience if invited.

    3. What steps has Stephen Sizer taken to stop his material being used by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers?

    I’ve no idea and nor do you. But idiots will alwys use material in ways the author does not intend. The author has made his position abundantly clear. What’s he supposed to do – spend his life issuing legal threats?

    4. Why has he been named in official British documents as having encouraged antisemitism on British campuses?

    “official documents” – this means nothing without evience that Sizer has, in fact, been stirring up anti-Semitism etc. etc.

    5. Why do people on neo-Nazi websites boast of having attended Rev Sizer’s church?

    Ask them. See above. Nazis probably boast about seeing the Pope, attending talks by famous people etc. etc. So what. Perhaps hearing a Christian speak Christian truths to them might do them so good (Sizer preaches against racism/hatred – good that they hear it even if they largely blind themsleves to the message).

    6. Why does Rev Sizer share platforms with Islamists who preach the destruction of Israel, the evil of Jewry, and the moral justification for suicide bombings?

    Sharing a platform does not entail sharing beliefs of those on the platform. Sizer actually condemns all these things both in his books and in his speeches. Good that his fellow panellists and audiences hear this (btw sharing a platform with Melanie Phillips means sharing it with someone who endorses the use of torture, allows the use of nuclear weapons, essentially rejects just war theory, allows for abortion in certain circs. – if I speak on a panel with her is it to be assumed I share all these positions. No.

    7. Why does Rev Sizer appear to deny the evidence which has been available for him to see on the Seismic Shock blog for many months now, and instead selectively choose to mention all those times he has blogged against antisemitism whilst ignoring the evidence that he has been in email contact with various antisemites?

    Don’t know – but being in contact via email with antiSemites is not necessarily bad. I am very opposed to euthanasia and abortion – ye I am in “email contact” with those who defend these positions.

    All of the above points are trivially true and it is most tiresome to have to point them out. Such smears do you no credit whatsoever. I have my diagreements with Sizer – but I will state them and engage in argument – not smears and guilt by association. It is intolerable that you think that this is a legitimate way to “argue”.

  • BrianG

    Why did Sizer say “Zionism is a form of racism”?

    It’s antisemitic!

  • Mordechai

    MV:
    1. The objection is that the Iranian government is translating Sizer’s book as it feeds into their political agenda, which is anti-Western/anti-American as well as being anti-Israel. The translation of Stephen Sizer’s book is being undertaken by Dr Zahra Mostafavi, the daughter of Ayatollah Khomeini, who has previously implored Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah to use children as suicide bombers against Israel. Given its genocidal threats against Israel, why has Sizer allowed the Iranian government permission to translate his work?

    2. If Rev Sizer opposes apocalyptic theology, let him oppose Islamic Mahdism every bit as much as he opposes Christian armaggedonist eschatology. I am sure that his audience in Iran did disagree with Christian Zionism, yet this is beside the point.

    3. Whilst Rev Sizer cannot prevent every use of his work by white supremacists and the like, a simple statement apologising for the antisemitic emails he has sent out which also calls for Holocaust deniers, Islamist extremists and neo-Nazis to stop quoting and pasting his material would go a long way to resolving this issue.

    4. The official document which names Rev Sizer is, I believe, very important, see here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmhaff/165/165ii.pdf

    5. Instead of doing them good, it seems that some neo-Nazis are able to attend Sizer’s church and come away feeling even better about their beliefs about Jews. Why is this?

    http://seismicshock.blogspot.com/2008/09/visitor-to-virginia-water-recommends.html

    6. Instead of publicly challenging the views of those Islamist extremists and other apologists for terrorism when he does share a platform with them, Sizer more often than not stands alongside them publicly preaching about the evils of Zionism and Christian Zionism. Surely this does not help in combating racism.

    7. The evidence presented of Rev Sizer’s correspondence with antisemites is not that he has challenged them, but instead that he has effectively supported some of their views, consciously or not, by forwarding them antisemitic and anti-Judaic material.

  • Graham Weeks

    I have read Sizer and he is not anisemitic only antizionist. The government document naming him is merely quoting from a Memorandum submitted by the Union of Jewish Students, who I am sure are just as objective on this subject as MP.

  • Richard Ames

    “…..the Union of Jewish Students, who I am sure are just as objective on this subject as MP”

    That is a disgusting statement Graham Weeks and I apologise to our Jewish friends for it. You are saying that Jews claim antisemitism falsely. That is deeply offensive.

  • MV

    Further to my last post – I meant Ames – NOT Weeks. Apologies.

  • Ken Fredrick

    I’m wondering if Melanie has actually read Stephen Sizer’s latest book, “Zion’s Christian Soldiers?” (I consider it the best theological work I have ever read).

    If she would read it, she would see that Stephen is pro-Israeli — but he is also pro-Palestinian. Above all, he is pro-justice and pro-peace. He can be all this because he believes in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ (Jesus, after all, came to save the Jewish people first — the Gentiles second).

    I strongly encourage Melanie to examine the claims of her Jewish Messiah. She will be impressed.

  • Gary Goodman

    Dutchie of Canberra writes: The figures do not support this and one only needs to look at the way Islam spread throughout history to see true “institutionalised terrorism” and terrorism. Israel has not commenced any war since it’s inception 60 years ago. All fighting has been in response to attacks from outside. The only land gained has been through these battles in order to safeguard it’s own people.

    This is not true. Read “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism”, written by the daughter of an Israeli Interior Minister (Livia Rokach) based on the diary of the Israeli PM Moshe Sherrat

  • Raymond MacDonald

    I’m afraid I have to reject Melanie’s usage of the word ‘evangelical’. Historically evangelicals have adopted a theology called Dispensationalism.
    This system of theology differentiates evangelicals from mainline protestant denominations.
    Mainline denominations like the Anglican church have maintained Covenant theology which basically states that the church has replaced Israel as God’s instrument on earth.
    The Dispensationalism of evangelical Christianity however affirms the special place Israel and the Jewish people hold as the ‘Apple of God’s Eye’.
    Therefore, one cannot be an evangelical while simultaneously rejecting Israel and God’s covenant relationship with the Jewish people, and, for that matter, one cannot be a true Christian!

  • Grumpyoldman

    I have only recently discovered Melanie Philips and I thank God for her.

  • James Sundquist

    Saw your post re Stephen Sizer (among a host of other reasons to mark him). Sizer responded to this letter by refusing to repent, blame shifting, and retaliation.

    Shalom,
    James Sundquist

    January 8, 2014

    Dear Stephen Sizer,

    This is my second request and followup inquiry to you regarding Rick Warren, regarding Rick Warren’s statement about his Purpose Driven Life Book: “best selling non-fiction hardback book in history”, which I refute at:
    http://www.perfectpeaceplan.com/post/is-rick-warrens-claim-that-his-book-is-the-best-selling-non-fiction-hardback-book-in-history-true/

    I see that as late as yesterday that you are still promoting Rick Warren. If you don’t believe me that his claim about the sales of his PDL has no foundation in fact, since you know him well, ask him directly for the date, issue, and page number of the Publishers Weekly citation. Also ask the President George Slowik of Publishers Weekly, as I did, and you will be able to verify that they have no record of ever publishing such a statement. And while you are at it, if Warren’s book is first, who came in second, third, tenth? I would think as a Christian that you would want to trust but verify. As such a boast would make your similar statement about the popularity of Rick Warren’s book (about 2 minutes in) at:

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/listen.php?file=http://tgc-audio.s3.amazonaws.com/sizer_stephen/sizer-philippians_3_10_purpose_driven_life.mp3

    also untrue. I am surprised you, as an author, would not know that statement is farfetched and unbelievable. And where is the proof and citation that Warren’s book is even “the most popular book in the world apart from the Bible” 2:24 minutes in? Who told you that? Did you verify that?

    I look forward to your prompt response.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    James Sundquist
    Director
    http://www.perfectpeaceplan.com

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